This Week with Cinema Tropical
Our Indocumentales screening of The Unafraid– scheduled for this evening at NYU’s King Juan Carlos I Center – has been postponed due to New York University’s weather-related closure. We apologize for the inconvenience and hope to see you at the re-scheduled program. Stay tuned!
Mark your calendars for Latin American film events happening throughout the five boroughs this week.
Anthology Film Archives is hosting ‘NYC Feminist Film Week 2019,‘ starting tomorrow Tuesday. The series, committed to increasing the visibility of women and of all trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming filmmakers, is presenting three pivotal, feminist features from Latin America this coming week.
From Brazil, Claudia Priscilla and Kiko Goifman‘s internationally-acclaimed documentary Tranny Fag – an empowering exploration of Linn da Quebrada, a black transgender Brazilian singer—screens on Friday. Pair your visit to the Brooklyn Museum’s Frida Kahlo exhibition with Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen‘s “tautly structured” documentary Frida Kahlo & Tina Modotti playing Saturday. Finally, round off the weekend with Albertina Carri‘s queer road movie The Daughters of Fire, hitting the screen this Sunday.
The New York International Children’s Film Festival is also on this week, featuring a slate of ten inquisitive and captivating shorts for children from Latin American regions. For more information, see below.
‘NEW YORK INT’L CHILDREN’S FILM FESTIVAL’
Through Sunday, March 17
(Juan Antín, Canada/ France/Luxembourg, 2018, 72 min. In English)
Tepulpai’s your average kid—headstrong and a bit naughty. It may seem unusual that he has a pet armadillo and wants to be a shaman, but not if you live in the ancient Peruvian Andes like he and his wise friend Naïra do. The two embark on a young heroes’ quest to locate their community’s stolen treasure, and must confront the Inca and newly arrived Spanish to retain their indigenous ways. With a vibrantly-hued palette and Pre-Colombian soundtrack of ancient flutes and condor wings, Pachamama exuberantly celebrates nature, culture, and community.
Sunday, March 10, 2:45pm at the SVA Theatre
(Giselle Perez, Guatemala, 2018, 2 min. n/d)
Like everything Abuelita does, her tamales are filled with love, especially when her grand-daughter gets to help out in the kitchen.
Saturday, March 9, 11am at the IFC Center and 11am, MoMI; Sunday, March 10, 10:45am at the SVA Theater and & 11am, MoMI
(Alex Budowsky, Colombia/ USA, 2017, 4 min. n/d)
NYC’s biggest borough gets the Busby Berkeley treatment in this charmingly upbeat ode to industrial Brooklyn that will have you tapping your steel-capped toes.
Saturday, March 9, 3:15pm and Sunday, March 10, 1:30pm at the SVA Theatre
(Cynthia Fernandez Trejo, Mexico, 2017, 20 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
Can a fabled stone offer another path for Matilde’s life on her Mexican rancho?
Saturday, March 9, 2:15pm at the SVA Theatre; and Sunday, March 10, 10:45am at the IFC Center
(Ben Garfield, Cuba/UK, 2018, 3 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
The universal language of wizards bridges cultures in this imaginative doc.
Saturday, March 9, 2:15pm at the SVA Theatre; Sunday, March 10, 10:45am at the IFC Center
YOVER (Edison Sanchez, Colombia, 2018, 15 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
Switchbacks and other creative hacks are always handy, as hardworking Yover demonstrates what it takes to push through adversity.
Sunday, March 10, 4:45pm at the Quad Cinema
(Sofia Carrillo, Mexico, 2017, 13 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
In this meticulously crafted stop-motion menagerie, Cerulia may seem like delicate porcelain, but as the creepiness mounts, it’s the audience who just might crack first!
Saturday, March 9, 4:45pm at Scandinavia House
(Ricky Mastro, Brazil, 2016, 13 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles)
A father is told his son isn’t like the others, but he knows his fledgling drummer boy will find his own beat.
Saturday, March 9, 1pm and Sunday, March 10, 10:45am at the Quad Cinema; Sunday, March 10, 1pm at Museum of the Moving Image
STARDUST (Polvo de Estrellas, Aldo Sotelo Lazaro, 2017, 14 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
One young man realizes that no matter how humble his surroundings, he can still find a path to reach for the stars.
Saturday, March 9, 1pm and Sunday, March 10, 10:45am at the Quad Cinema; Sunday, March 10, 1pm at Museum of the Moving Image
JUNI (Sharelly Emannuelson, 2018, 8min. In Papiamento with English subtitles)
Life in Curaçao may seem idyllic, but teens who feed themselves a diet of tough posturing and iguana stew make life challenging for a boy and his younger friend.
Saturday, March 9, 1pm and Sunday, March 10, 10:45am,
at the Quad Cinema; Sunday, March 10, 1pm at Museum of the Moving Image
(Frank Perozo, Dominican Republic, 2018, 93 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
Nicole and Jose Miguel come from very different León families. Hers is wealthy and well-to-do. His is more humble and less well-off. And it’s all been going just fine until Nicole’s father becomes intent on breaking them apart, going so far as recruiting Jose Miguel’s own father (whom he can’t stand) to bring in their kids’ exes to drum up a break-up. The sunny honey-colored cinematography, which showcases the colorful vistas of the DR, is the backdrop to this star-crossed lovers story that plays like a big-screen telenovela.
A TUBA TO CUBA
The ShowRoom Cinema, Ashbury, NJ
(T.G. Herrington and Danny Clinch, USA/Cuba, 2018, 82 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles)
The leader of New Orleans’ famed Preservation Hall Jazz Band seeks to fulfill his late father’s dream of retracing their musical roots to the shores of Cuba. Join the band as they traverse post-embargo Cuba in search of the indigenous music that gave birth to New Orleans jazz. Encounters with some of Cuba’s most iconic musicians leads to spontaneous and soulful collaborations. A Tuba to Cuba celebrates the triumph of the human spirit expressed through the universal language of music and challenges us to dig deeper; to find that common ground we all have inside us, and there, resolve to build bridges, not walls.
‘NEW YORK TIMES OP-DOCS BY MEXICAN FILMMAKERS’
Tuesday, March 5, 7pm
El Museo del Barrio
(Santiago Arau Pontones and Diego Rabasa, Mexico, 2018, 11 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
The story of the 2017 Central Mexico Earthquake, told with astonishing drone footage of Mexico City, captures the aftermath of the disaster and creates a mesmerizing portrait of one of the world’s largest cities.
NIÑOS EN LA NARCOZONA (Everardo Gonzalez, Mexico, 2018, 10 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
An elementary school teacher kept anonymous talks about what it’s like to teach the children of avowed gangsters. A young gang member talks about how he was introduced to violence as a boy.
UN PRISIONERO EN LA FAMILIA (Indra Villaseñor Amador, Mexico, 2018, 14 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
In a coastal fishing town, a woman has kept her mentally ill son imprisoned in a room, but with compassion and home cooked meals, over twenty years.
EL BUZO (Esteban Arrangoiz, Mexico, 2018, 14 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
Mexico City employs a diver to clear out clogs and snags from its gigantic sewer and wastewater system. For the diver, it’s a labor of love.
LA PALABRA JUSTA
(Sergio Blanco, Mexico/ USA, 2018, 12 min. In Spanish, Tarahumara, Otomí with Spanish and English subtitles)
Many indigenous people who enter the Mexican justice system must navigate it without a translator — even though they may not speak Spanish. Lupita Pérez Holguín, an indigenous woman in the state of Chihuahua, works for the government as a translator and has started an NGO to help indigenous people grapple with a legal system that doesn’t speak their language.
UNSILENCED (Betzabé Garcia, Mexico/USA, 2016,10min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
An activist is murdered on-air while hosting a radio show for fellow displaced residents of a rural town in Mexico.
The program is moderated by New York Times reporter Eduardo Porter and includes a discussion with the films’ creators, flying from Mexico for this event.
‘CORTO CIRCUITO: THE LATINO SHORTFEST OF NEW YORK’
Thursday, March 7, 6:30pm
Colombian Consulate of New York
LOS HIJOS DE JAIRO (Andres Palacio Villa, Colombia/USA, 2017, 22 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
A man tells the story of his father’s pastry shop near a hospital and a violent altercation that occurred one morning.
MAÑANA (Camilo Palacios, Colombia, 2017, 9 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
A woman abused by her husband has the option of leaving him immediately upon entering a doctor’s office where a female psychologist and a male physician offer her help. In the midst of indecision and fear, she must also deal with the tension generated by the doctor’s condescension towards the two women.
EL EDEN EMIGRADO(Laura Sofia Ploanco, Colombia, 2017, 10 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
In Cairo, a municipality in the north of the Valley, known as ‘the dreamlike balcony,’ you can still see the traditional peasant lifestyle. Don Benjamín is from Cairense born and raised. He celebrates 70 years of life and of living in the same house. Since he was a child, Don Benjamín work on the farms has given him everything he needed to live, but now there are not so many farms, nor so much work, and his life is no longer the same.
CEMENTERIO (Luis Fernando Villa, Colombia, 2017, 23 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
After a call announcing the visit of a delegate of the church to San Luis de Frá, a town as ordinary as it is absurd, Jose María Marín, the parish priest in charge, knows that the time has come for him to tell his story.
‘CHIAPAS MEDIA PROJECT / PROMEDIOS DE COMU-NICACIÓN’
Monday, March 11, 5pm
NYU’s King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center
20th Anniversary celebration of the Chiapas Media Project / Promedios de Comunicación Communitaria. Short film screenings followed by discussion with Alex Halkin (founder, Chiapas Media Project) and Paco Vázquez (Director, Promedios de Comunicación Comunitaria).
BIRDS OF PASSAGE
(Pájaros de verano, Cristina Gallegos and Ciro Guerra, Colombia/ Denmark/Mexico, 2019, 125 min. In Wayuu, Spanish and English with English subtitles)
Torn between his desire to become a powerful man and his duty to uphold his culture’s values, Rapayet (Acosta) enters the drug trafficking business in the 1970s to secure a dowry to marry Zaida (Reyes) and finds quick success despite the disapproval of his tribe’s matriarch, Ursula (Martínez). Ignoring ancient omens, Rapayet and his family get caught up in a conflict where honor is the highest currency and debts are paid with blood. Tracing the origins of the Colombian drug trade as it slowly corrupts an indigenous Wayúu family, Birds of Passage is a sprawling epic about the erosion of tradition in pursuit of material wealth.
‘NYC FEMINIST FILM WEEK 2019’
Tuesday, March 5 – Sunday, March 10
Anthology Film Archives
(Bixa Travesty, Claudia Priscilla and Kiko Goifman, Brazil, 2018, 75 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles)
Priscilla and Goifman document the life and the work of Linn da Quebrada, a black transgender Brazilian singer whose political interventions span both music and activism. The documentary is preceded by the short film All in Days Work, where two working class queer bodies stand a little too close for (other people’s) comfort, thus exposing the institutionalized assumptions society projects on both bi+ and butch women.
Friday March 8, 6:30PM
FRIDA KAHLO & TINA MODOTTI
(Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen, UK, 1983, 29 min. In English)
This tautly structured documentary sheds light on the work of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo and Italian photographer Tina Modotti, women icons of the Mexican Renaissance. The film not only explores the two women’s artworks, but also includes rare footage of Modotti in the 1920 Hollywood film The Tiger’s Coat. We’re also treated to some exquisite home movie shots of Frida Kahlo and Mexican muralist Diego Rivera at their Blue House in Mexico City.
Saturday, March 9, 6pm
THE DAUGHTERS OF FIRE
(Las hijas del Fuego, Albertina Carri, Argentina, 2018, 115 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
A queer road movie exploring the political and aesthetic possibilities of pornography. At the very end of the world, three women meet by chance and start a life-changing polyamorous journey filled with pleasure and joy, away from the confines of monogamous romance. Through her notes, Violeta narrates the adventures of the Daughters of Fire: a group of women in search of their own erotica.
Sunday March 10, 8:30pm
Friday, March 8, 7pm
Anthology Film Archives
(Fernando Perez, Cuba, 2003, 80 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
A poetic homage to the city of Havana, this breathtaking film is a lovely and melancholic portrait of Cuba’s capital. Following in the tradition of the city symphony by adopting a “day-in-the-life-of” structure, it follows ten ordinary Habaneros as they go about their daily routine. There is no dialogue and no need for it either; music and natural sound accompany the multiplicity of images that weave a unique and intimate picture of a city full of contradictions and contrasts, a city of accomplished and frustrated dreams. Edited like a musical composition, Suite Habana oscillates between documentary and fiction. The ten characters range in age from 10 to 97, and represent the diversity of groups that form the city’s social fabric. Each of them follows a narrative, and we follow their transformations as the workday ends and they prepare themselves to welcome the night.
Opens Friday, March 8
Angelika Film Center and AMC Lincoln Square 13
(Sebastián Lelio, Chile/USA, 2019, 102 min. In English)
From Academy Award-winning director Sebastián Lelio (A Fantastic Woman, Disobedience) comes a sophisticated romantic comedy that shows love can strike at any time, relationships are never simple, and nothing can get you down as long as you keep dancing. Gloria (Julianne Moore) is a free-spirited divorcée who spends her days at a straight-laced office job and her nights on the dance floor, joyfully letting loose at clubs around Los Angeles. After meeting Arnold (John Turturro) on a night out, she finds herself thrust into an unexpected new romance, filled with both the joys of budding love and the complications of dating, identity, and family.
(Alfonso Cuarón, Mexico/USA, 2018, 135 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
In Alfonso Cuarón’s autobio-graphically inspired film, set in Mexico City in the early ’70s, we are placed within the physical and emotional terrain of a middle-class family whose center is quietly and unassumingly held by its beloved live-in nanny and housekeeper (Yalitza Aparicio). The cast is uniformly magnificent, but the real star of Roma is the world itself, fully present and vibrantly alive, from sudden life-changing events to the slightest shifts in mood and atmosphere. Cuarón tells us an epic story of everyday life while also gently sweeping us into a vast cinematic experience, in which time and space breathe and majestically unfold. Shot in breathtaking black and white and featuring a sound design that represents something new in the medium, Roma is a truly visionary work.